Sneakers (1992)

Rating 12
Length 2h 06
Release 13.11.1992
Director Phil Alden Robinson
About Martin Bishop heads a group of experts who specialise in testing security systems. When government agents blackmail him into stealing a top secret black box, his team is embroiled in a dangerous game.


The Good

  • The cast is incredible. Like, I can’t imagine a director getting a better cast assembled. Certainly not one that includes three generations of Oscar talent.
  • In particular, Sidney Poitier was incredible. He really had that paternal vibe down. Then he went and gave Samuel L Jackson a run for his money with the use of “motherfucker.”
  • This is perfect for those who like conspiracy thrillers and heist movies, like Enemy of the State, Lucky Number Slevin and Inside Man. It’s clever and well paced with characters I really rooted for.
  • The final scene is worth everything. Think Armageddon contract negotiation but a thousand times better.
  • Even though technology has advanced, and rendered some of what is mentioned in the plot obsolete, I doubt it impacts on the enjoyment that could be had. Unlike, The Net and perhaps Hackers that don’t fare as well.

The Bad

  • It was a slow burn, which is okay, but with ‘lockdown brain’ I have tended to stick to films under the 1h 40 mark and I did find myself drifting in those first twenty minutes or so. A little tighter editing would smooth out that introduction somewhat.
  • There was a dodgy accent or two that really sounded off. In particular director favourite Lee Garlington would have been better without the European accent.

The Ugly

  • Can someone tell me what Robert Redford used to be able to get through that hot room?! Like, seriously? 99 degrees Fahrenheit and that bastard is as dry as a bone. In a high pressure situation? Bullshit, he would be as wet as Lee Evans after the first half of a gig. Yes, I know this is a weird hang-up, but in a near perfect movie, this stands out so badly.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about David Strathairn’s presentation of a visually impaired person. Why some things that were played for laughs, like talking to someone facing the wrong way, work quite well there are others that don’t sit as well with me. I’m not going to detail it here as it’s not fair for me to say its offensive and I wouldn’t want to prejudice anyone. However, if you’re as like-minded as me; you’ll know when you get to the scene I had the problem with.

Final Thoughts

This is a good movie. Not a movie you’ll watch all the time, but it’s a movie you’ll watch and think, damn I enjoyed that. I also have a sneaking suspicion that a viewer much more familiar with Redford’s back catalogue

Thunderbirds (2004)

Rating: PG
Length: 1hr 35
Release: 23.7.2004
Director: Jonathan Frakes
About: When young Alan Tracy’s entire family is trapped by an evil being, the Hood, it is up to him and his friends to come to their rescue.


First Thoughts

Summer 2004 was one of the best summers; me and my best friend in the world had gotten into a routine of going the cinema once a week and summer 2004 was peak cinema going; Woolworths was still open for pick and mix, London Road still homed the Liverpool Odeon and tickets were still cheap.
It was just me and him and he never once complained about my ‘my spot’ eccentricity. However, Thunderbirds marked the one and only time we let someone join us.


The Good

  • The wonderful Ron Cook steals every scene he’s in as the beloved Parker. He’s the benchmark for what the film should have been. His tone and humour hit the right notes; from the sarcasm to the near car crash cheer for the football win.

The Bad

  • It’s too CGI glossy, which unfortunately hasn’t aged well. It’s not the only film from this time like this. There’s no depth or shadow on the integrated image so it sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • The Tracey brothers lacked any individuality, charisma or character. We’re not given any time with them, that’s true. However, with careful film work and scripting, it was possible.
  • Lady Penelope is… problematic. We’re introduced to her with a seductive “hello boys.” to a room full of boys who will undoubtedly add her to their spank bank. The gratuitous child-friendly dip in the tub is followed by a boob grope to retrieve a bone, which alone is fine. However, the reaction of the room would make it seem she used her bare-breasted nipple to open the door. To add insult to injury, we’re treated to a “I didn’t need it anyway.” nod and wink.
  • The usual issues with filming in London; the Bank of London is not the Bank of London, travel in one direction but end in a location that baffles. Oh and then there’s a random monorail because even with all the fucking bridges across the Thames, you need another way.

The Ugly

  • Where to start?! This film is so problematic on all fronts and most revolving the representation of people within the film.
  • There’s very few people of colour in this movie. Four, actually. One, plays a stereotypical bad guy and the other three are a family of hired help for the Tracey family.
  • Ben Kingsley once again wins the award for cultural appropriation. This time Kingsley channels Yul Brenner and hams up the oriental wizardry with a swish of his kimono.
  • However, you’ll be forgiven for still rooting for Kingsley’s over-acted The Hood because the lead we’re meant to connect with, teen Tracey, well he’s a bit of a twat. That’s putting it lightly. His toxic masculinity fuels his early-noughties angst that will have you tearing your hair out. Oh and the little shit at his most twatish thinks its okay to mimic his best friend’s inherited stutter.
  • Rose Keegan perhaps is given the worst treatment possible as hench-woman Transom. From her introduction, i’m on edge. There’s the ‘she’s sexy’ close-up of her animal printed arse, followed by the camera physically pulling back to mirror the man’s ‘disappointment’ that she doesn’t have the socially ‘hot’ face. Fuck you Thunderbirds. Simultaniously objectifying her and making her a focus of repulsion?! Not okay.

Final Thoughts

Not the colourful but boring film I remember but a complete hot mess of offence. I’d love to say I’ll never watch it again, but I am pretty certain I said that to Michael as we left the cinema.